Wilmette Park District
Minutes of Regular Meeting of the
Board of Park Commissioners
Monday, September 8, 2014
7:30 p.m. – Village Hall Council Chambers

Attendees Present

Commissioners: President James Crowley; John Olvany, Gary Benz, James Brault, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott and Amy Wolfe

Secretary/Executive Director Stephen Wilson
Superintendents: Jeff Bowen, Ken Eppelheimer and Bill Lambrecht
Communications Manager Shelagh Donoghue
Executive Administrative Assistant Cindy Felicicchia

Attendees Absent


I. Meeting  Called to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m.

A. Roll call taken.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Commissioner Olvany moved to approve the minutes from the Regular Board Meeting of August 18, 2014, Commissioner Shelly seconded; all voted yes, the motion carried.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

III. Communications and Correspondence

Commissioner Crowley acknowledged a letter from Mary Schiltz from Evanston regarding the fitness center. He stated he would pass this along to the correct committee to respond.

IV. Recognition of Visitors

Kathy Routliffe, Pioneer Press
Beth Beucher, 1420 Sheridan Road, Wilmette
Mary & Charlie Shea, 735 Michigan, Wilmette
Vilmos Zsolnay, 853 Sheridan Road, Wilmette

V. Approval of Voucher List

Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Abbott seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,922,135.16, a copy of which is to be attached to and become a permanent part of the minutes of this meeting.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

VI. Executive Director’s Report

Director Wilson reported on the following topics:

  • The summer season has come and gone along with the District’s official pool and beach season closing.
  • Thanks to the summer staff for their hard work; the District looks forward to seeing them back again next year.
  • The budget process is underway which began in August at the Financial Planning and Policy meeting. The specific committees will be reviewing their area’s budgets at their committee meetings in October and November. A committee of the whole will take place in December and then the approval of the budget at the Board meeting in January.
  • Several items will be presented to the Board tonight for their consideration:
  • Surplus Property Ordinance 2014-O-5 – the typical process for disposal of property.
  • PTAB Resolution 2014-O-7 – the typical process for when someone is contesting the assessed value of their property in excess of $100,000.
  • Bid recommendation for printing the 2014-15 Leisure Guide Series. This company comes highly recommended and was the low bidder. Shelagh Donoghue Communication Managers has been pleased with the results.
  • Bid recommendation for early childhood catered lunches. The program last year went through transition changes with vendors. The company picked was the low bidder with positive results.
  • Two contracts related to design work for the Lakefront Master plan. One from Williams Architects and the other from SmithGroupJJR.

Commissioner Crowley recognized Carla Juliar’s retirement dedicating 39 years of service. He wanted to acknowledge publically what a great employee she has been. He highlighted that the District will be a much different park district with a Juliar not being around. We wish her a great retirement and lot of fun in the future.

Commissioner Crowley acknowledged Tim Amorella, Assistant Manager down at the beach front, leaving the District to pursue other opportunities.  He is going to work for the Village. He stated he is a delightfully wonderful guy, great common spirit and gung ho in every way. We will miss him and we wish him well.

Director Wilson stated that in regards to Carla Juliar the District will have a formal resolution commemorating her career at the October Board meeting. She is actually off already enjoying retirement and out of town.

VII. Committee Reports

A. Lakefront Committee:

Commissioner Abbott reported on the following topics:

  • The committee last met on August 25th.
  • Summer camps have wrapped up at the lakefront with another successful season.
  • The Triathlon will be held on September 14th. There were 550 participants last year and we have already reached that number in signups this year. It appears that there will be food trucks at the event this year. Superintendent Bingham is working on the details.
  • The Giving Rocks fundraising event will be held in the afternoon of September 14th.
  • The question of the referendum has been temporarily deferred. The Lakefront Master planning continues with discussions. Commissioner Abbott referred to a memo and attachments from Superintendent Lambrecht that was presented at the Lakefront Committee Meeting on August 4th which delineates the scope, the budget and presents, at least, an initial master schedule of the project. He recommends Board members keeping this handy. He stated there is only one major decision to be made with regard to the schedule that is whether or not construction would commence next fall 2015 or the following fall in 2016. The committee has not voted on a recommendation; although the consensus seems to be moving towards the fall of 2015. This memo drives the contracts of architectural and engineering services that are in the packet this month. If fall of 2015 is the goal then design would need to commence relatively soon. Commissioner Wolfe asked to get a copy of the memo with attachments. Director Wilson commented he will recirculate that information.

B. Facilities Operations Committee:

Commissioner Shelly reported on the following topics:

  • The committee met tonight.
  • Pool had a good season despite the weather. The numbers were obviously a little bit down. There were four sessions of lifeguard training that were held during the season which helped accommodate the hours of operation.
  • Centennial facility was hit with a power outage on Friday at about 3:30 p.m. with the heavy storms. A generator was hooked up about 10 hours later. Ice around the edge of the board was repaired. The facility was back up by Sunday but word had already gone out; therefore, they are in the process of rescheduling a few things. Hockey tryouts are about to take place. The fall session started officially on August 25th. The numbers are well up from last year for ice.
  • The tennis facility is now complete with the lighting and air conditioning. There has been positive feedback for both. The pro shop is having a sale which will run through the rest of the month.
  • A new paddle pro has been hired. Her name is Ania Kazakevich. She comes with great experience and we are happy to have her on board. There are currently 13 men’s leagues compared to 11 last year. There are 3 women’s teams compared to 2 last year. There will be a kick-off open house hosted at paddle on September 20th from 3:00-6:00 p.m. More information forthcoming with paddle. She is ranked in the top 10 for women paddle players in the nation. She has also been featured on the cover of Wilson Paddles.

C. Parks & Recreation Committee:

Commissioner Wolfe reported on the following topics:

  • The next committee meeting is scheduled for September 15th.

D. Golf Operations Committee:

Commissioner Crowley reported on the following topics:

  • The committee did not meet last month. The next committee meeting is scheduled for September 13th.

E. Financial Planning & Policy Committee:

Commissioner Olvany reported on the following topics:

  • The Financial Planning & Policy Committee met on August 25th. The committee discussed the budget and the direction of the tax levy. In conjunction with that Superintendent Eppelheimer discussed with the committee the concept of refinancing some of our outstanding debt. He is going to come back to committee with a recommendation from our advisors BMO Capital Markets in regards to taking advantage of low interest rates and refinancing some of our existing debt. More discussions to follow by the end of the year with committee and the Board.
  • The committee participated in an interactive budget process where revenues and expenses were looked at. The committee asked staff to gather information regarding the previous five years of salary increases for a more historical perspective. The next meeting will provide more feedback.

Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2014-O-5, AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING AND PROVIDING FOR THE DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS PROPERTY OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

VIII. Unfinished Business


IX. New Business

A. Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Shelly seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2014-R-7, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INTERVENTION IN A PENDING PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL (LDP MANAGEMENT).

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

B. Commissioner Wolfe moved and Commissioner Benz seconded a motion to approve the bid from Paulson Press, Inc., Elk Grove Village, in the amount of $47,760 for printing of 2014-15 Leisure Guide Series.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

C. Commissioner Shelly moved and Commissioner Wolfe seconded a motion to approve the bid from Quality Catering for Catered Lunch Program in Early Childhood Center in the amount of $1.66/meal, as recommended by the Parks & Recreation Committee.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Brault, Crowley, Olvany, Abbott, Shelly and Wolfe; voting No: None. Absent: None; motion carried.

D. Commissioner Benz moved and Commissioner Olvany seconded a motion to approve the contract with Williams Architects to provide architectural services for the remaining architectural work for the Lakefront Master Plan, for a fee of 7.5% of the actual architectural construction costs, currently estimated to amount to $352,547.

Commissioner Crowley asked Director Wilson to discuss what the contract is. Director Wilson stated that built into the contract is discontinuation of fees and work in the event an April referendum is either not pursued or fails if pursued. Therefore, the work done up through the start of April is what we would pay for. Anything after we would not be obligated to pay for as stated in the contract.

Commissioner Olvany stated that he seconded this motion and part of the reason, without getting the public’s approval beforehand, was the thought that there was a lot of infrastructure at the lakefront that Superintendent Lambrecht already pointed out that is in dire need of updating. Commissioner Olvany asked if we do not have a successful referendum is there some way that we can utilize some of these expenses that we take on now for aspects of the project that we deem as a Board down the road to be mission critical. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that this is similar to a project in the past. The work has been completed over time using the plans developed for a master plan at the Community Playfield. He stated there is a lot of work the District has to do at Gillson Park no matter what. The plans on file can always be utilized when the Park District proceeds with the work.

Commissioner Shelly asked Superintendent Lambrecht if the referendum does not pass in April and if the entire scope of the project changes then where would that leave us with the plans. He stated that we can select specific designs out of the project plans that we can proceed with. The design work will already be finished and we do not see them not being used at some point in the future.  He stated that deferring this until fall of 2016 could incur an incremental increase of potential construction cost around 5% of the total construction cost; plus 5% of the design fees according to the estimates received from the consultants.

Commissioner Olvany stated that if we have a referendum in April and it doesn’t pass we still have a situation where a number of our facilities need updating in some form or fashion. How long are these plans good for? Superintendent Lambrecht stated, by chance, some outside things could change the plans, such as codes, requirements or storm water management but essentially the plans will not change. Commissioner Olvany asked if it was safe to say that future Boards could utilize these dollars that we spend. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that is correct. Commissioner Shelly asked if Williams Architects and SmithGroupJJR have been designing this project based on being broken apart. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that they can be broken up. The problem is that there is infrastructure work that has to happen if the beach house is built that involves the parking lot and utilities. He stated that if we do have to break the plan up into pieces that there may be more charges involved. Commissioner Olvany stated that he seconded this motion because he feels there is useful life for these plans down the road. Commissioner Olvany asked what the time frame would be if the referendum passed in April. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that the plan has been structured by the referendum to go to next steps of permitting which would allow work to start late August of 2015.  Director Wilson pointed out that if we do have a successful referendum in April but do not proceed with the design work now the best next window of opportunity would be one year later, end of swimming season 2016. Commissioner Olvany reiterated that authorizing spending money now can be utilized in the future and if we don’t do this we will be asking people to say yes to the referendum but no impact on their quality of life for another sixteen months. Commissioner Benz stated that the construction cost would also go up about $700,000. Commissioner Shelly commented on the cost going up to be arguable that it would not be for sure. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that the cost is hypothetical but with the budgeting that we have done so far we have shown a 5% incremental increase per year as the project proceeds. He stated that based on construction costs things are picking up and prices have gone up. Commissioner Shelly stated she is very concerned about approving this tonight without having a referendum passed that is supported by the people. 

Commissioner Brault stated that he is in favor as much now of the overall master plan and thinks its finances have been planned well, but worried that paying for the two contracts without referendum money would take dollars away from current budget needs. He feels the overall issue here is do we want to push this project to be ready to go in 2015. He stated that the fact of the matter is we pushed the referendum back for valid reasons and because we pushed that back we should do this as well. He stated he feels this is something he would not support at this time. Commissioner Abbott stated he is not comfortable approving this tonight. Commissioner Benz stated that pushing out the project for another year you are dealing with not only an increase in cost but also playing in the financial market place with interest rates. He also pointed out that being a part of the plans throughout the community this past summer and the positive feedback people wanted to know, “when can they enjoy it.”

Commissioner Olvany stated that Commissioner Brault had a valid point on the budget process. He asked if we go through the budget process and the capital allocation process in a couple of months what stage does that leave us at with bid process and schedule. Director Wilson stated that if we wait until that time frame he does not believe it will change the terms of this contract. He stated what it does change is our time frame and our ability to begin construction. Commissioner Olvany asked if a three month delay would cost the project one year. Superintendent Lambrecht stated yes by the way the project was designed and planned out. Commissioner Wolfe stated that she sees validity in both but she is not comfortable with approving this tonight; but would not like to see the project held up for another year either.

Commissioner Brault asked what this project would do to the park itself. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that for public safety reasons the entire park would be closed due to the amount of work that will be going on.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes: Commissioners: Benz, Crowley, Olvany; Abstained: Wolfe and Abbott; voting No: Shelly and Brault. Absent: None; motion denied.

Commissioner Crowley stated there was no reason to consider the second contract tonight for SmithGroupJJR to complete civil engineering and landscaping designs for the master plan.

X. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at
8:28 p.m.